Sunday, 14 August 2011

August Opera Challenge Day Fourteen: Favourite Comedic Role

I'm laughing just thinking about it. Falstaff in Verdi's opera of the same name. I suppose it's Shakespeare who is the comedy genius behind the larger than life Sir John, but I'm so glad that for his last ever opera, Verdi abandoned the more tragic Shakespeare plays and created something so hilarious. Just look at the guy's face. You're laughing, aren't you? And I haven't even said anything about the opera yet!

Now despite the fact that Falstaff is a pretty selfish character whose greediness seems to know no bounds, Verdi's opera always makes me feel a strong amount of sympathy for him and unlike most people, I find myself laughing with Falstaff, not at him. It may be due to the fact that, having already been hidden in a laundry basket and thrown into a ditch, the extra punishments in Windsor Park seem a bit unfair. But it probably has more to do with the joyous music and characterisation. It's hard to resist (and even harder not to agree with) Tutto el mondo e burla...Tutta gabbati! and even though it's much more difficult to agree with the sentiments expressed in L'onori! Ladri! Voi state ligi all'onor vostro voi! it has got to be one of the most hilarious arias from any opera, ever. Witness Bryn Terfel (who else) singing it at the 2008 BBC Proms with characteristic zeal...

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